Microsoft Windows 8

On Oct 26th, 2012, Microsoft (MSFT) released its Windows 8 operating system. In the period since the release of Windows 8, U.S. sales of Windows PCs and tablet computers fell by 21% when compared against the same period a year ago.

Windows 8 was designed with tablets and touch screen devices in mind. Its changes include a new look intended to make laptops and desktop PCs operate more like tablets. Microsoft budgeted $1 billion for the Windows 8 advertising campaign. Microsoft sold 40 million copies of Windows 8 in the first month of sales. It is worth noting that the sales include licenses sold to OEM partners such as HP and Dell for machines yet to be sold.

The Microsoft Surface Tablet was announced on June 18th, 2012. The Surface RT was release on Oct 16th, 2012 and runs the Windows RT operating system which is a stripped down (less functional) version of Windows 8. Windows RT is intended for tablets only and does not support running older Windows programs.

The Surface RT is priced at $499 for 32GB of storage and no Touch Cover Keyboard. The 64GB model costs $599 without the touch-sensitive keyboard. The Touch Cover Keyboard costs an additional $100. The Surface with Windows 8 Pro is scheduled for release in early 2013 starting at $899. Reports are citing January/2013 for availability of the Surface Pro. Reports are also saying half the battery life in the Surface Pro compared to the Surface RT.

The Windows 8 sales of 40 million copies in the first month have been reported to be below internal projections at Microsoft. The Surface RT sales are also reported to be below expectations where the initial projection was to sell 4 million units by end of 2012 but recently pulled back to a target of 2 million units. The holiday shopping season may reveal more light on Windows 8 and Surface RT sales. And then there are the Surface Pro models coming in 2013. Time will tell how much market share Microsoft will earn with their Windows 8 and Surface Tablet products.

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Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana. - Bill Gates